Amplifiers can potentially be made smaller and better as acoustic devices by using sound waves instead of electrons to process radio signals.
Sandia’s acoustic, 276-megahertz amplifier, measuring 0.0008 in.2 (0.5 mm2), demonstrates the potential for making radios smaller through acoustics.
To amplify 2 gigahertz frequencies, which carry much of modern cell phone traffic, the device would be even smaller, 0.00003 in.2 (0.02 mm2).
“We are the first to show that it’s practical to make the functions that are normally being done in the electronic domain in the acoustic domain,” says researcher Matt Eichenfield.
The device can boost a signal by a factor of 100 in 0.008 inch (0.2 mm) using 36V and 20mW.
Fusing an ultrathin semiconducting layer onto a dissimilar acoustic device took an intricate process of growing crystals on top of other crystals, bonding them to other crystals and then chemically removing 99.99% of the materials to produce a perfectly smooth contact surface.